Chelsea began quietly, over six years ago or more, not much press, with small galleries beginning on Twenty-Second Street off Tenth Avenue. Other galleries followed, galleries with more money, which found larger spaces on Twenty-Fourth Street. It took a few years to develop, but when the building at 529 West 20th Street opened with every floor in the place filled with galleries, usually four on a floor, then the neighborhood really took off.

The buildings in Chelsea were waiting for something to happen anyway, like a lost, abandoned soul waiting or a lover. Previously, printing companies, bookbinding companies and storage lofts filled their spaces, but as time went on, the buildings lost their value, prices were low, ceilings were high, spaces big – just ripe for an art scene to take hold.

An important boost to Chelsea was the recent arrival of Gagosian Gallery on Twenty-fourth Street, near Eleventh Avenue. Next to Gagosian’s mammoth space is the Mary Boone Gallery. Also down the street is Metro Pictures and Barbara Gladstone Gallery. 

Only in the huge space of Gagosian Gallery could Damien Hurst exhibit large vitrines that held gallons of water with live fish, combined with a turn of the century gynecologist’s examining table. Greeting you, in the center of the first gallery, was a gargantuan painted bronze male figure, the outer layer of skin peeled away to reveal the internal organs of the body.

by Hedy O’Beil

Printed in The Artists Proof, N.Y. Artists Equity Association, Fall 2001, Vol. 18.

Hedy O’Beil is an artist, art critic, curator, and art lecturer. Her reviews have appeared in Arts Magazine, the West Side Beat, and Manhattan Arts.






Asahi Shuzo is one of the most unique breweries in Japan. They have slowly, gently, and carefully changed much about the way they exist and brew. Change that has been inspired partly by our own crises and difficult times. And Asahi Shuzo has emerged with more focus and resolve to create sake like no other.

Over the past few years we have adapted our methods and our brewery to be able to brew year round, something all but unheard of in the sake industry. This permits us to brew our sake in a steady, even flow and rhythm that minimizes variables, allowing us to focus on the details even more.

Details that include labor-intensive hand crafted methods that have been proven over centuries to yield better sake. Details that include the most modern technology applied in the right measure, in the right places. Details that include using only the finest of materials like rice and ideal yeast.

For more information, visit Asahi Shuzo


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DASSAI sake is created using a careful combination of tradition and cutting edge technology. Our brewery is a medley of ancient tools and innovative equipment. We have come to use what works, and leave what does not, choosing what our experience dictates is best from both the old world and the new.

In short, DASSAI sake is all about quality, and not quantity, both in how we brew it, as well as in how we hope you enjoy it.

We start with top quality rice, easily the best rice for sake brewing, Yamada Nishiki. We then mill away the outer portion, grinding away the outer half or more of each grain before brewing. Why this extravagance? Because this takes advantage of just what is so special about Yamada Nishiki.

The outer part of proper sake rice is where all the fat and protein resides, with the precious fermentable starches resting safely in the center of the grain. Milling away more and more of the outer part of the grains removes the fat and protein, leaving only the starch behind, leading to the elegant flavor profile that is DASSAI sake. Extravagant? Perhaps. Worth it? In light of our pursuit of the best sake we can brew, absolutely. This specially prepared rice is then brewed by our young, enthusiastic brewers using clear, clean local water in the isolated, pristine environment of the mountains of Yamaguchi Prefecture, on the southern tip of Honshu, the largest of Japan’s four main islands. The result is sake with an identity; delicate, refined and graceful.

At Asahi Shuzo, we brew only premium Junmai Daiginjo sake. There are but a few breweries in all of Japan that focus all effort on making only top grade sake. Our commitment to this defines every aspect of our brewery’s existence.


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The rise of hip-hop culture in the early 1980s, created media sensations. Movies like “Wild Style” and documentaries about hip-hop were becoming popular. When they reached Japan, the people embraced it. They thought it was cool and something new. Hip-hop music and break dancing caught on way before graffiti broke through. 1986, the first all hip-hop club opened up. Soon J-rap came along due to the success of artists in the years 1994 and 1995. Graffiti managed to become popular throughout the years and in 2005 a contemporary museum called X-COLOR opened and it was dedicated to showcasing graffiti artists’ work. The exhibition included photographs and videos depicting the history of this culture. They also showed graffiti in relation to other street cultures.

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“For anyone that has visited Tokyo, it’s no secret that Japanese graffiti artists, while of course influenced by the New York scene, have created a beast all of their own with the popular influences of calligraphy, kanji, and anime and magna characters,” (Anderson). Compared to western graffiti styles, the Japanese graffiti pieces are much more intricate especially in the writing aspect. Anime and manga influences can be found in any piece of work. It is natural for pop-culture to be included in a graffiti piece. There is a mixture of kanji and Japanese alphabets used to create stylized ideograms. Sumo wrestlers, Samurai warriors, and Geisha women become part of the art to represent the influence of their own culture. Paint wars, where crews paint insults back and forth until one quits or gets caught by the police, are common in the culture. The same in many cultures, if the artist is illegally vandalizing an area, they can spend a night to a month in prison. The artists usually aren’t in too much danger as like they would have to deal with in place like New York and L.A.

Source: Outsider Japan



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Taisan Tanaka is a contemporary Japanese artist. He works in solely black and orange calligraphic ink that often have circular figures that the artist describes as gentle but can strongly effect the viewer’ heart.

Japanese calligraphy (書道 shodō) is a form of calligraphy, or artistic writing, of the Japanese language. For a long time, the most esteemed calligrapher in Japan had been Wang Xizhi, a Chinese calligrapher in the 4th century, but after the invention of Hiragana and Katakana, the Japanese unique syllabaries, the distinctive Japanese writing system developed and calligraphers produced styles intrinsic to Japan.




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“Paper sculpture” by the artist, Mari Mizuno.

The artist’s recent work is comprised of 5 to 10 pieces of finished prints of the same picture clippings, pasted over a three-dimensional painting.

The world of shadow box from the personal belongings of the print to the classic print typified by artist Anton Peck are endless.

— Mari Mizuno



Miho Takai

I like to have the artwork speak for itself; I don’t like saying more about it than what is there. It’s like looking at an old photograph — it invokes different memories for different people. Each person’s experience from seeing a piece of artwork is unique and should not be clouded by what the artist thinks he or she is conveying. On the other hand, the artist might have a point that no one else shares but is nevertheless a unique expression.




Touko Okamura was born in Tokyo,1972. Graduated from Nihon University college of art department photography.  In 1997, Launched career as a freelance illustrator. Began to create art works from 2005.